Shopping and finding the right bra has changed my life. Seriously.
For years, the majority of my time, energy, and money as a consumer focused on my children. First, it was baby gear — diapers, clothes, cribs, car seats, strollers (how can such small humans “require” so much stuff?!). Then, it was toddler things — bigger clothes, snack foods, toys, and storage containers to organize my accumulating collection of kid stuff. Soon, my children became “big kids,” and we shopped for backpacks, sports uniforms, bicycles, more clothes, and more toys, and more snacks. And, I am not ready to think about what the teenage years will entail!
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not love shopping. So, shopping for myself in the last decade has mostly consisted of grabbing a shirt at Target as my child is deliberating about which birthday gift to bring to a friend’s party. Or, if I’m feeling really crazy, I’ll pick up some yoga pants at Costco while buying soccer snacks, or I’ll add an item or two in my online shopping cart on a night when I can’t sleep. So, bra shopping, which takes dedicated time and energy — you know, right up there with swimsuit and jean shopping — was not a priority . . .
Until the fateful morning when I realized that almost a decade had passed since my last bra fitting. That’s right. Oprah would be horrified. Even though I had purchased new bras, I had not verified if they were the right size for me; I just kept buying the size I had in my closet. (Apparently, I’m not alone. I do not know how they come by this statistic, but Huffington Post says 64 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra!)
In fact, once I thought about it, the last time I had someone assist me in determining the proper size was in between having my two children. Yeah, that time when your body is in limbo and your shapes and sizes are fluctuating. That time when you keep wearing nursing bras far beyond your lactation years because they are convenient and comfortable.
And, so, one afternoon, perhaps because I was creeping closer and closer to 40, I knew it was time to pay attention to the girls.
One glorious fall afternoon, I went to the mall. Alone. I could think. I could take my time. I felt no pressure or anxiety about being in a dressing room for over an hour with an amazing sales associate who was patient, encouraging, and truthful. “Girl,” she said as I walked in the lingerie department, “I can see from way over here that you are in the wrong size bra.” Um, thanks.
And, she was right. When we finally nailed the proper size and fitting, I was a new woman. I am not kidding. I instantaneously felt more confident, more poised, and self-assured. I took care of me. Even though most people would not notice my undergarment revolution (except my hawk-eye lingerie sales associate), my clothes fit better, and, more important, I felt better. Like a kid wearing their brand-new shoes home instead of putting them in the bag, I wore my new bra out of the store with my head held high.
This hidden attire that we women must wear day in and day out deserves to fit properly — it’s what (literally) supports our outfit and, as I discovered, our attitude. Yes, our clothes look better with a proper fit. Yes, our posture improves; and the girls get the support they deserve. A bra fitting – as simple as it may seem – signifies something else: With all the attention given to caring for the needs of a family, a mom can take the time to care for her body and her needs, too. Even if no one notices her invisible investment in herself, she knows she’s worth it.